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What to expect from a Pulmonologist
#1
What is reasonable to expect from a Pulmonologist?

Should that person be able to read that itsy-bitsy floppy disk in his own equipment and make a diagnosis based on that data or rely on Sleep Study data alone?
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#2
It depends on the pulmonologist. Mine specializes in CPAP therapy, so she can and does read the data on my SD card.

However, she looks at only summaries, so she doesn't see details that I have to point out to her. She cooperates fully with me, and recently wrote a prescription for exactly the machine I wanted with the settings that were working for me.

You have to pay closer attention than anyone else if you want to optimize your therapy. Relying only on doctors won't do. They see stuff that we don't see, so it's important to have a sleep doctor, but we see stuff that they don't see so it's important for us to keep up with our own therapy.
Sleepster
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#3
Sam, I'd agree with Sleepster. I also see a pulmonologist who is also a certified sleep doc (its a medical sub-specialty). I've learned that my appointment time slots are short. So, I try to bring up as much info as time allows in order to get the doc's reaction, advice and scripts when needed. I can't see how the doc would have the time to download my data and view it during the appointment. I've discovered that he's familiar with ResScan (Resmed's software) but not Sleepyhead or others. So, prior to a visit I use my machine's SD card to print out the summaries of my data for a recent past period of time using Resmed's software, and give the printouts to the doc. That way, he's able during our short meetings to quickly see what's been going on with my sleep therapy. Since your sleep study was not long ago, my guess is that your doc may also still be looking at those results too.
Hope this is of some help.
David
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#4
Thanks guys.

Due to the dysfunctional nature of our crummy health care system. I had a very hard time finding a doctor who takes Blue Cross HMO in my area. It would have been nice to use the doctor affiliated with my sleep study folks, but that would be way too logical & convenient.
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#5
The reporting software for Philips Respironics machines that DMEs, respiratory therapists, and some sleep doctors use is called EncoreBasic & EncorePro. You can do a web search for "download EncoreBasic" and find a copy to download if you want to use it to create reports.

There's also this ApneaBoard Wiki on EncoreBasic that shows what the screens and reports from it look like.

If you want to find out what's going to happen at the appointment with your pulmonologist/sleep doc, you can call their office and ask. That way you'll know ahead of time if he will be going over your sleep study results with you or what exactly he will be focusing on. Even asking the staff how much time is allotted for your appt. can give you an idea of what's going to be happening.

I had about a 15-min appt. with my sleep doctor after my sleep study to go over the results.

The next appt. that I went to was the "more than 30 days but less than 90 days of CPAP use" appt. for insurance compliance purposes. That appt. lasted about 3 minutes. All the doctor did was have his staff print out the EncorePro summary report for my 88 days and say "Your AHI is around 5. Great!"


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#6
My pulmonologist knows nothing about CPAP or sleep related anything. She just says "that's a sleep issue" and sends me back to my sleep Doctor.
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#7
Hmmm...

This has been quite helpful. I didn't know there were "sleep doctors".

A quick search of the web turned up http://www.sleepeducation.org/find-a-facility. I'll use this to see if I can find one that honors my insurance and is nearby.
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